“For the first time in school, I feel I am important.”

My name is Devin and I am a senior at H.E.L.P. Miami. I was born in Queens, started school in New York and pretty much hated it from the start, like from Kindergarten. My grandfather always told me to “be respectful” and “do well in school,” but he passed away shortly after I moved to Miami in 2004. After that school went out the window completely – I began to get into fights, I started to skip school and I got in with the wrong crowd. I really did not care.

My parents put me in “good schools” but I would get expelled. In fact, since moving to Miami in 2004 I have been kicked out of 6 schools. I ended up dropping out last year and NO WAY would I ever go back to high school. I was DONE! I made up my mind to get a GED and would figure it out from there.

My mom asked me to try a summer program to help me with my GED studies. The program was H.E.L.P. Miami and it was located in a shopping center next to a grocery store. It was hate at first sight! BUT it took about a week for me to discover that I was actually learning something and the work I was given could be done. I decided to give up the GED goal and pursue a high school diploma, so I enrolled in the private school program. I learned how to study and currently have the best grades I have ever had in any school I have attended AND I am an “angel” in class! (No fights, no skipping, no problems!)Both the principal, Barbie, and my teacher, Nancy, listen to me and, for the first time in school, I feel like I am important. Further, Nancy makes me look up about 1000 words in a dictionary every day which has resulted in a rise in standardized test scores. (I seriously did not expect understanding words to make such a difference but I am proof that it does.)

Not only will I graduate with a diploma, I am going to college to become a paramedic. None of this would have been possible if my mom hadn’t found this program 6 months ago. I cannot thank her and everyone at H.E.L.P. enough. (By the way, my mom is like a walking advertisement for this school and tells everyone how well I am doing!)

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